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Smart Car Hot Rods

Updated on June 29, 2011

Smart Car Transformation from Econo to Hot Rod

The Smart Car is a well engineered exampled of minimal transportation, at 3 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper and just one foot longer than an E-Z-GO golf cart, it's just big enough to carry two people. Aside from a couple of normal sized hybrids that get better mileage, for nearly $10,000 more, the smart's the U.S. low cost mileage king, it's diminutive size allows it to be parked in tiny spots, like a motorcycle. An extended test drive of a standard Smart can be found on the Economy Car Hub.

Those who remember their go cart racing days, or who enjoy blowing away slick sports cars with a sleeper might have a look at performance tuned Smart Cars

Standard Smart fortwo specifications:

1 liter, 3 cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder 70 hp @ 5800 rpms, 68 lb ft @ 4500

Weighing in at 1,804-pound, the standard Smart goes from zero to 60 mph in 14.1 seconds.

(Car & Driver mentions it's the slowest-accelerating passenger vehicle in the country)

Fuel consumption: City/highway (mpg) 33/41 (EPA 2008)

Brabus Ultimate R (Europe only) tuned smart:

turbocharged, 112 horsepower, 0-60 in a freeway merging 9.5 secs

Diablo and Smartuki conversions

Using high performance 4 cylinder, 17,500 rpm motorcycle engines giving a racetrack exhaust tone.

160+ HP, 5 speed sequential shift transmission, 0-60 in under 5 Seconds.

Courtesy of the Rate Car Insurance Guide.

Brabus Smart Car. U.S. versions use stock engine

BRABUS smart fortwo United States version

While still having the performance of a motorized phone booth, the Brabus sport delivers agressive sporty  looks. The U.S. version of the Brabus customized Smart car is primarily a cosmetics package, aside from some transmission shift refinemen, suspension tuning and better sounding exhaust.

Various interior and exterior modifications, including carbon fiber front and rear skirts, fender flairs, roof spoiler, double fog and driving lamps and grille and rear bumper BRABUS nameplates.

The coupe come at a roughly $5750 premium over a standard Smart. The cabrio’s price amounts to a $3755 difference.

Brabus Ultimate R Cabriolet

Smart Car Kits Imagined

Too Bad These Don't Exist

(Click the photo for enlarged view)

While reviewing the high performance Smart Car videos on Youtube, i ran across the slide show of remarkably detailed kit car bodies. A closer look at the details, including the original car's 4 wheel disk brakes convinced me that these are only someone's Photoshop engineered designs existing only in an imaginary world.

These designs have been named Smorschen, Smaudi A3 AWD, Smamborghini, Smorsche Targa, Smorvette and The Smerrari..

Unfortunately the golden age of the kit car is in the past, federal safety laws and uni-body construction have made it tougher to drop a new body on an old car.

Diablo Smart car with a Suzuki Hayabusa engine

Demonstrated by a member of the Arrepiado stunt driving crew, the Diablo is a literal mid-engine design placing the Suzuki Hayabusa engine in the passenger seat.

(Reported to cost $17k to have Benimoto transform your car.)

There's another stunt video of the car doing nose stands with a partner standing on the bumper. Reportedly shot in the city of Funchal, in Madeira Island, Portugal, the crowd safety standards appear to not be up to U.S. event standards.

Diablo Single Seat Convesion

The Smartuki Pocket Rocket Conversion Kit

The Diablo shown above places the engine in the passenger seat, making it a dedicated race toy. If your interested in a more practical street legal micro sleeper, with 5 second 0-60 speed, look into replacing the works with a high performance 160+ HP GSXR 1000 motorcycle engine, fit neatly into the original engine compartment, using the Smartuki sub-chassis kit. The kit comes in various forms, including a drive in - drive out complete installation for £10,000.

The makers hint at the possibilities of using turbo charged, Nitrous powered tuning to get 300+ HP.

This English outfit is currently looking for U.S. distribution.

Smartuki Drifting on a Japanese Race Track

Smart Car putting Down a Lamborghini Driver

Wacky Hotrod Sound Effects in Brabus Electric Smart Car

A novel feature of the Brabus customized version of the electric Smart Car, said to be designed as a pedestrian warning device are engine sound effects tied to the throttle, the show car has the choice of a gas engine or a spaceship sort of sound effect.

Smart Roadster RIP 2003-2006

A Historical Note on The Smart Roadster and Roadster Coupé

Between 2003 and 2006 the The Smart Roadster and Roadster Coupé were produced using a turbocharged 698cc 3-cylinder engine, producing 60 or 85 HP. Dispite a loyal following and being awarded Fun Car Of The Year for 2005 by Top Gear magazine, unexpected warranty repair costs for leaks and other defects caused a premature cessation of production with about 43,000 units on the road.

A high point was the creation of 10 V6 Bi-Turbo prototypes by Brabus in 2003 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Solituderennen (Solitude race) race track. The 2 merged 3 cylindar engines, fed by duel turbos produced 215 HP, yielding a power to weight ratio similar to a 911 Carrera 4S, giving a 0 to 60 time of under 5 seconds. Unfortunately this wonder car was never approved for the road. Here's a BiTurbo on the track.

Bebus V6 Smart Roaster Prototype


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    • profile image

      lorraine faries 5 years ago

      the proud owner of two smart cars, i will never drive a normal 4 seat car or even own one again for that matter, its the most amazing little car ever, small but mighty...

    • profile image

      μεταχειρισμενα αυτοκινητα  6 years ago

      The Smart Car looks good but it offer a minimal range of transportation and i think that alone it the main problem.I own a ?????????????? ?????????? it may be old fashion but still work good

    • profile image

      Shannon Paulk 7 years ago

      Great cars! I never considered that Smart Cars could potentially be hot rods. I'm still skeptical. But these are cute on the road.

    • Rizwan Amjed profile image

      Rizwan Amjed 7 years ago

      You have interesting hubs to read